Lanka eyes Doha medal after 4 x 100m. success at SAG
The gold medal winning Sri Lanka womenâ€™s 4 x 100m relay squad.
pic. by Chaminda Hitteyiage
SA GAMES: Sri Lanka, over the years, has produced many
outstanding women sprinters. Besides the IAAF World Championship silver
medallist and Olympic bronze medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe, there have
been may other leading women sprinters who have been dominating from
time to time.
Over the years, Sri Lanka has regularly produced many champion 100m
and 200m runners. As a result, the women's 4 x 100m relay has been one
of our strongest events at regional level.
Sri Lanka has either won the gold or silver medal at all ten South
Asian Games held so far. That has been mainly due to the outstanding
contributions of some of the top most sprinters like Susanthika
Jayasinghe, Damayanthi Darsha, Sriyani Kulawansa Fonseka, Ineka Cooray
and Jani Chathurangani Silva to name a few.
Of the ten South Asian Games held so far since 1984 to 2006, Sri
Lanka has bagged gold medals on four occasions while they have won
silver at all six remaining instances. It will be interesting to see how
Sri Lanka's timing progressed in women's 4 x 100m since the inaugural SA
At the first SA Games in Kathmandu, they clocked 47.80 seconds in
securing the silver. In fact, Sri Lanka had to be content with the
silver medal at the first four South Asian Games - 47.80 in Kathmandu
1984, 48.70 in Dhaka 1985, 47.15 in Calcutta 1987 and 46.90 in Islamabad
Sri Lanka's first South Asian Games gold medal in 4 x 100m relay was
registered when they first hosted the Games in 1991. Sri Lanka clocked a
Games record timing of 45.71 seconds to secure the gold medal at 1991
Colombo Games while the four-time previous gold medallists India settled
for the silver in 46.30 seconds.
Having won the silver in Dhaka 1993 with a timing of 45.96 seconds,
Sri Lanka once again won the gold in women's 100m relay in Madras 1995
with a new Games record timing of 44.74 seconds. India which was placed
second was way behind with an unimpressive timing of 46.21 seconds. But
Sri Lanka could hold the record for only two years as India bounced back
at the very next Games to win the gold in 44.71 in Kathmandu 1999.
When Sri Lanka hosted the 10th South Asian Games, they came in as the
reigning champions of this event, having kissed the gold in Islamabad
2004 with a timing of 46.13 seconds. Sri Lanka's champion women's 100m
relay team at Islamabad SA Games comprised Achala Alles, Sriyani
Kulawansa Fonseka, Jani Chathurangani Silva and Sujani Buddhika.
In fact, two members of this 'golden team' remained when Sri Lanka
won the 4 x 100m relay gold at Sugathadasa Stadium last month. The other
two members were Susanthika Jayasinghe and D.D.A. Priyadharshani.
Sri Lanka started the 100m relay with Priyadharshani, who gave the
baton to Silva for the second lap. Sujani Buddhika did the third lap and
gained a considerable advantage before Jayasinghe did the anchor lap.
Veteran coach Dervin Perera, who was in-charge of the overall
training of the team, said the women's 4 x 100m relay has been one of
the most advantageous for Sri Lanka in Asian and South Asian circuit.
But, Perera said Sri Lanka's performance is not depicting their true
capabilities. "The baton change in the first and second laps between
Priyadharshani and Jani was not that good. But that went perfectly
between Jani and Sujani, then between Sujani and Susanthika," he said.
Perera feels that Jayasinghe did not run all out in the anchor lap.
"She had fair reasons for that. One is the fact that we were in the lead
when she got the baton and she only had to maintain that lead. On the
other hand, she could not take chances as she had to run in the 100m
final on the following day. Under the circumstances, I feel, that the
girls did well to secure the gold with a calculated effort," Perera
Perera, one of the most successful coaches in Sri Lanka who guided
Jayasinghe to win the women's 200m silver at the 1997 IAAF World
Championship in Athens and Sriyani Kulawansa to secure the women's 100m
hurdles silver medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur,
sees a bright future for Sri Lanka in the 100m relay.
"We have a good chance of going for a medal at the 15th Asian Games
in Doha. If we plan well and give of our best, I don't see why our girls
cant go for a medal at Doha Games," he continued.
Despite losing Silva, who is in the centre of a doping controversy
Perera, who is also the President of the AASL, feels that Sri Lanka
could still press for a medal. "If we can get either Darsha or long
jumper Priyadharshani to join Sujani, D.D.A. Priyadharshni and
Susanthika, we still have a chance," he concluded.
Meanwhile, Silva's dope test hearing has taken a new turn after she
rejected a 'B' sample testing. She has been tested positive for a banned
anabolic steroid Nandralone during the eight-nation Games. Both her
urine samples taken after women's 100m and 4 x 100m relay have been
If found guilty, not only Silva would lose both the medals but Sri
Lanka's hard-earned 4 x 100m gold too would be at risk.